REPRESENTATIVES of WA's dairy farmers, processors and retailers have met for the first time to discuss the future of their industry as a group.
The Dairy Industry Forum focused on building trust, confidence and equity among the various sectors to work together for the benefit of the dairy industry as a whole.
Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said the industry could embrace a more collaborative supply chain approach to production, processing and sale of its products as a result of the forum.
Mr Chance hosted the forum in response to recommendations of the Parliamentary standing committee report on the Sustainability of the Dairy Industry in WA,
He said the industry required effective collaborative action.
"Potentially, with changes to the Trade Practices Act, this could include investigating a collective bargaining process which delivers more equitable outcomes for all sectors," Mr Chance said.
"The forum acknowledged the important changes that dairy farmers have made since deregulation, including increased stocking rates and major investment in business improvement.
"As a part of this process, the State Government and processors are supporting dairy farmers to participate in Dairy Australia's Taking Stock and Taking Action initiatives.
"This program assists dairy farmers with assessing their business performance and to develop strategies to improve profitability.
"Further opportunities also exist for dairy farmers to improve productivity through better use of home-grown feed and increasing milk protein content."
Mr Chance said the Agriculture Department would continue to provide advisory services and research and development to assist these improvements.
"The processing companies at the forum also expressed their willingness to take a collaborative approach to the development of higher value export markets," he said.
"I note that an example has been set by Challenge Dairy Co-operative, which has announced a joint venture with QAF Limited of Singapore.
"Such a venture, which Challenge predicts will provide significant new capital, immediate access to vital markets and maintenance of WA grower autonomy, is a significant move in the right direction for the industry overall."